“This store has a wonderful selection of cat toys,” exclaimed Tammie.
I dropped a container of clumping kitty litter into my shopping cart and followed my daughter’s voice into the next aisle, complaining, “My cats don’t need any more toys. I already have a dozen to pick up each time I vacuum the floor.”
Stepping into the same aisle as Tammie, I skidded to a stop. The pet toy display was a Santa’s winter wonderland for cats. There were colorful balls to chase, miniature stuffed animals, snakes that crinkled when touched, cat nip straight up and cat nip-infused beds and toys. Despite my reluctance to buy anything, I became enamored with a battery-operated toy that made a butterfly flutter in a circle on a wire.
“Let’s go to check-out before I decide to buy anything else,” I muttered as I added it to my cart. In my haste to leave the display, I bumped a toy mouse off the rack. It squeaked like a flesh and blood field mouse.
“Real mice are filthy creatures.” Tammie commented, “but this toy is really cute.”
Glancing at the toy mouse, I grumbled, “I don’t need it but maybe my kitties will learn what to do if a real mouse ever gets in my house. Put it in my shopping cart.”
The squeaking mouse made its presence known all the way to the check-out as the oval-wheeled shopping cart rumbled over the tiled floors. The toy mouse’s vocal nature made it easy to tell when my cats were playing.
The fluttering butterfly toy was a big hit with my kittens, but it didn’t take them long at all to catch the butterfly and to chew it off the wire. The empty wire slowly bobbing around in a circle wasn’t all that interesting. The cats wandered off bored.
The other morning, I was sitting at my desk when I heard the mouse toy squeaking more than I had ever heard my cats make it squeak before. I wondered, “What in the world are those two-little fur-balls up to?”
One cat was behind the door and the other in the entryway. First, the cat behind the door batted at the mouse, then the one in the hall batted at it. How were they managing to get the toy through the small opening so quickly? Looking closer, I was shocked to realize my cats were not playing with a toy mousie. They were playing with a real mouse! The frightened creature was frantically squeaking.
Horrified that I had a filthy mouse in my house, I grabbed the closest weapon at hand, a fly swatter that hangs on the side of my desk. I began to rapidly swing at the vermin. My arm was like a spinning fan blade. The mouse tried to escape, but the repeated slaps accumulated until the small beastie keeled over on its side. I stopped hitting it, but when the creature twitched, I shuttered with revulsion and slapped it a few more times for good measure.
Using a scrap of paper like a potholder to prevent my hand touching the furry house invader, I picked up the mouse and threw it out the back door.
That evening I told my daughter Tammie, “There was a mouse in my house today. At first, I thought the two kittens were playing with the squeaky mouse toy. Then I realized that they were playing with a real mouse!”
Tammie interjected, “You were right, the mouse toy did teach the kitties what to do if they ever came across a real mouse.”
I disagreed, “They were just playing with the mouse. They weren’t trying to kill it. That’s what cats usually do.”
“They weren’t hungry.” my daughter pointed out, “You feed them bowls of kibble each day.”
“I cornered the mouse and began slapping it with a fly swatter until it stopped moving. I threw the body out on the back deck. An hour later I decided that I should have taken a picture of the mouse. But when I looked, it was gone. It must have regained its senses and limped away.” I concluded. “Instead of killing the mouse, all I had done was slap it silly.”
Jerry the cat.